The Roots of Our Progress

Herbert Hoover - New York, New York
Broadcast during the 1950s
Herbert Hoover
Library of Congress
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My professional training was in science and engineering. That is a training in the search for truth and its application to the use of mankind. With the growth of science, we have a continuous contention for a tribe of atheistic and agnostic philosophers that there is an implacable conflict between science and religion, in which religion will be vanquished. I do not believe it.

I believe not only that religious faith will be victorious, but that it is vital to mankind that it shall be. We may differ in form and particulars of our religious faith. Those are matters which are sacred to each of our inner sanctuaries, but it is our privilege to decline to argue about it. The real demonstration is the lives that we live.

But there is one foundation common to all religious faith.

Our discoveries in science have proved that all the way from the galaxies in the heavens to the constitution of the atom, the universe is controlled by inflexible laws. Somewhere a supreme power created these laws. At some period, man was differentiated from the beast, and was endowed with a spirit from which springs conscience, idealism, and spiritual yearnings. It is impossible to believe that there is not here a divine touch and a purpose from the creator of the universe. I believe we can express these things only in religious faith.

From their religious faith, the founding fathers enunciated the most fundamental law of human progress since the Sermon on the Mount, when they stated that man received from the creator certain inalienable rights, and that these rights should be protected from the encroachment of others by law and justice.

The agnostic and atheistic philosophers have sought to declaim progress in terms of materialism alone. But from whence came the morals, the spiritual yearnings, the faith, the aspirations to justice and freedom of mind, which has been the roots of our progress? Always growing societies record their faith in god. Decaying societies lack faith and deny god. But America is not a decaying society. It remains strong. Its faith is in compassion and in God’s intelligent mercy.�

Herbert Hoover was the 31st president of the United States, serving from 1929 to 1933. Born in Iowa, Hoover was a mining engineer, coordinated food relief in Europe during World War I, and was secretary of Commerce under Presidents Harding and Coolidge. (Photo courtesy of Library of Congress)